No incumbent president will have a harder job than to fix the monstrous mess left by the current administration as it heads for the exits in January. Beyond instilling confidence in government again, the new administration will have to repair the deliberate attempts to destroy our union and do so in a way that protects the republic from ever having to go through this national trauma again. As someone who dedicated her entire working life to protecting our environment and the rights of working people, I have some suggestions which may start the healing process.
President Biden’s first act must be an executive order which offers official recognition of the sacrifices made by people who lost their government jobs simply because they were doing their jobs, which basically means protecting and defending our Constitution. Certainly, an official apology won’t replace all the personal suffering endured by those who bravely came forward to complain about all the illegality by this administration, but it will help the healing process for the country. These brave souls must be granted restitution and re-instatement wherever possible.
If you do the math, you will find that many former government employees with hundreds of thousands of hours of acquired expertise in their chosen fields walked out the door – or were escorted out of offices, for simply doing their jobs. When a government employee with that many years of experience leaves, their contacts and relationships with others in the private and public sectors goes out the door with them because people in government form professional relationships built on trust and competence. Remove them, and an agency has to start all over again from scratch rebuilding those relationships before work can be recommenced.
Laws must be written and passed to strengthen the job security of former whistleblowers and those that pointed out flaws in our system of government as they identified anyone who tried to subvert effective governance or the law and to provide protections against their deliberate removal as a way to silence them.
One of the abiding problems of our system of government is that there is no redress for removal of someone from higher office for incompetence. A law should be crafted to prevent this kind of perversion of power in the future. Certainly, the Constitution provides for removal from office, but those laws did not assume the level of sheer intentional corruption by this administration. The post-Watergate era created the means for some reforms, but they clearly did not go far enough.
Ethics also took a direct hit during this administration. Ethics in government laws need a total overhaul to ensure that those who work for the government in the future obey the law and act in a professional, ethical manner. Penalties should reflect the fact that any damage to our reputation as a nation of laws is a serious offense. Government cannot work effectively if no one trusts those in charge with making correct decisions that affect us all.
Every Federal agency must create a panel that will advise the administration as to the individuals who engaged in illegal or criminal acts while in office and to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.
Attempts at “burrowing” into agency positions by those in the former administration must be halted. This is the act of tailoring a permanent job in the government for a former employee. Enabling a demented president into carrying out unspeakable acts of murder against our citizens, whether it was by ignorance or incompetent managing of the pandemic or the killing of American soldiers for bounties should never be rewarded with a lifetime pension.
If folks truly want to “drain the swamp” and get rid of the pervasive and negative influence of money in politics, a law which forbids those in government from obtaining jobs as “consultants” or “lobbyists” for a period of at least five years would fix this problem almost immediately.
Finally, no one in the current administration should be entitled to a government pension or other remuneration for their once-held position. They do not deserve one. All of the current Cabinet members are multimillionaires, so they won’t miss the money anyway.